The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has joined international calls for the release of Hong Kong journalist Ching Cheong from a Chinese jail under medical parole for humanitarian reasons.
A worldwide petition, initiated by IFJ affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists' Association (HKJA), and signed by the IFJ, calling for Ching's release on medical grounds will be presented to the Hong Kong Central Government Offices on December 22, coinciding with Ching's birthday.
"The IFJ has been behind the release of Ching throughout his detention and farce of a trial in Beijing. It is now time for him to finally be released," IFJ President Christopher Warren said.
Ching, the chief China correspondent for Singapore's The Straits Times, has been detained for more than one and a half years, and last month his appeal was rejected by the Beijing Higher People's Court.
The court, on top of confirming the original five-year prison sentence for spying, also deprived Ching of his political rights for a year and confiscated his personal property worth 300,000 yuan (approximately USD 38,000).
According to the HKJA, there are serious concerns for Ching's deteriorating health.
"This is not only a press freedom issue, but also a basic humanitarian issue," Warren said.
"Ching's health cannot be allowed to further deteriorate, and the IFJ demands the Central Government grant an early release for Ching on medical parole," said the president of the IFJ, the global organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries.
For more information please contact IFJ Asia Pacific +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries